Wonderful essay by a Mozilla engineer about Mozilla’s new CEO, who supported the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.
Everything posted here is worth thinking about. On the other hand, the ideas and opinions put forth may not be right.
Curated and annotated by Timoni West.
- Ladies Who Code:
(via @jenrefat & @elizabethyalkut)
- NYC Geekettes:
- NYC PyLadies:
- NYC Ruby Women:
Additionally, @beerops mentioned she’s organizing a new one now!
Thanks to everyone who responded.
More recommendations still welcome; ping me on Twitter or reply to this post. I’m a designer, not an engineer, although I do front-end work, so meetups for designers are especially welcome.
— Super Normal, by Dave Morin, on Medium.
This article on Super Normal is concerning, because I, too, am a fan of the concept, and want to clarify some potential misunderstandings that may come up if you’re introduced to it by Morin’s Medium post.
First, here’s the seminal exhibit book on the subject, from the 2006 exhibit. The term Super Normal was coined recently, and the followup exhibition was the result of a partnership between the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa and the British designer Jasper Morrison.
Super Normal is not a Japanese philosophy. In fact, it seems much closer to a design philosophy of the Platonic ideal than, say, the very famous Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi, which celebrates simplicity, imperfections, and incompleteness—perhaps not always, but potentially, the opposite of Super Normal.
I specifically quoted Morin’s advice about ‘the familiar fading away’ and ‘delight’ because it is not in line with what happens when you encounter a Super Normal object without context. If an object is well-designed, or even perfectly designed, equipped with the essentials, it will generally not produce delight and surprise.
Instead, it will seem correct. It will not annoy; it will be trusted, and it will be often used. But the key to Super Normal objects is their utility is complete and perfect, and thus they will be thoughtlessly, easily used. If you own a Super Normal object, you likely feel a deep fondness for it.
Dave Morin is not the only one who felt Super Normal objects ought to impart more delight: Fukasawa himself ‘confessed to feeling “a bit shocked and a little depressed” on discovering that the aluminum stools he had designed were plonked on the floor for people to sit on at last year’s Milan Furniture Fair, rather than displayed on plinths like other new products. He was worried that no one would notice them.’
But I think he came around. Certainly Morrison embraced the idea whole-heartedly: ‘The objects that really make a difference to our lives are often the least noticeable ones, that don’t try to grab our attention. They’re the things that add something to the atmosphere of our homes and that we’d miss the most if they disappeared. That’s why they’re ‘super normal.’”
By all means, design your app using Super Normal principles. But realize the focus is to get to the essence, the most useful version of the product—not ‘adding a twist’. A Super Normal app may or may not be innovative, but it will embody the carved-down, beautiful essentials.
Short of some weekend hackathon you did with your buddies or an internal tool your company uses that took off unexpectedly, every feature of any product you intend to sell or monetize should strive to be as polished as reasonably possible and function just as your end-user expects it should.
Don’t be one of those startups that delivers broken features with the excuse, “It’s just the M.V.P., we’ll fix it later.” Man up, admit it isn’t good enough, and fix it now.
Otherwise, you’re missing the entire point of the M.V.P. in the first place - to iterate quickly on small features based on customer feedback and measurable data. If it doesn’t work right in the first place, the only feedback you’ll get is likely what you already know.
The tide has already gone this direction, so I don’t need to expound much. But it’s true that releasing a MVP at this point is not the same as releasing a MVP in 2007. Unless your product is genuinely new, has no competition, and is absolutely needed, your MVP needs to focus on what features will make it ‘viable’.
I think the answer to this question is: ‘he is really good at what he does, and his job does not directly involve making the company profitable.’ Either that, or he/she is great to work with—which, for most higher-level positions, is the same as being good at their job.
That being said, there is a certain bias assuming that one’s work can be judged by the companies they worked at. While it’s certainly not a bad indication, it’s always best to check out the portfolio —and go with your gut.
I post this because, particularly early on my career, I noticed a lot of number fudging on company presentations. I never saw the point of it: if things are bad, it’s time to consider change one’s focus or direction, not change the graph axis.
Interesting conundrum, here. Leave the TV show unfinished, finish it differently*, or speed up the books?
*Which opens up another can of worms, since the TV show has been fairly canonical so far. Being able to pick-and-choose your favorite ending based on the medium seems, ultimately, incredibly unsatisfying.